Palm Sunday tornado tweets a must read for weather, history buffs

Anyone interested in severe weather, history, or both will greatly appreciate a series of posts that the National Weather Service northern Indiana weather forecast office (WFO) published on the micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday.

And the WFO’s staff should be commended for excellent work gathering a great deal of historical information about the April 11, 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak and for presenting it in such a compelling way.

The WFO prepared more than 100 tweets, many with images of actual text products issued via teletype the day of the outbreak. Other tweets contained Google maps with tornado tracks marked on them and photos of the tornadoes taken by citizens and photojournalists.

To add to the drama, the WFO scheduled each tweet to appear on Twitter at times coincident with the actual times of day that the events occurred. Genius.

The WFO’s series of tweets gives viewers a real sense of how different severe weather forecasting, detection and warnings were 50 years ago. For example, one thing that struck me was the Fort Wayne Weather Bureau office relaying to local broadcast media via teletype word of tornadoes in the Lafayette area. These days, because of better detection and communication technology, you rarely see WFOs issuing text products regarding tornadoes that distant.

If you missed the live tweets yesterday, you’re in luck, because they’re still visible on the Twitter website, even to people who do not have Twitter accounts. Just follow this link. When you get there, scroll down to a point near the bottom of the page to the tweet that reads, “We are beginning the live tweet of the events of 4/11/65, the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak,” and then read your way up from there.

I highly recommend it.

 

 

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